Useless Interview Questions

We are in a very competitive candidate-driven marketplace and if you think the interview is all about you, the employer, you are going to have your feelings hurt. Now more than ever, it’s critical for you and your leadership team to sharpen your interviewing skills and make yourself and your company stand out from your competitors by asking thoughtful, intelligent questions. Here’s a short list of the most ineffective and banal questions to eliminate from your interview:


  1. What are your weaknesses?

One of the most ridiculous and useless interview questions! Interview questions should be designed to uncover and explore and this question like no other, causes people to hide, candy-coat or outright lie about themselves.  I know of no example where this question somehow magically uncovered a candidate who has a chronic problem with being on time to work, substance abuse issues, or the inability to play nicely with others in the sandbox.   A better version would be “Tell me about a time you failed at something and what you would do differently?”, or “What things have your previous managers coached you to improve upon in the workplace?”


  1. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?

This question does nothing to help the interviewer learn how the candidate would be able to perform the job duties for which they are interviewing. The world is unpredictable and life can throw curveballs at you so it’s not going to truly accomplish anything meaningful in the interview process. Why not ask “Why did you pick civil engineering as your field?” It would at least enlighten you as to their reasons why they are passionate about their career.


  1. Why are you looking?

This question has a tone that puts the candidate on the defense. I ask my clients not to ask this question because most often, the candidates I present are not actively looking. A better question to ask is “What are the factors that would have to be in place for you to make a change?”


Interviewing is a skill. Take some time to train to sharpen your skills and become a better interviewer. If you take one thing away from this, put yourself in the candidate’s seat and remember that they are interviewing you and evaluating your company on the quality of the interview.


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